10 Ways to Deal with Caregiver Stress

Written by Julia on October 26, 2015

Caring for a loved one can be a very fulfilling task. Yet, it is not without some challenges, and stressors will be very much a part of your everyday life when you undertake this task. To regain balance and handle the pressure that comes with the job, you need to follow these tips to keep your stress in check and avoid the risk of total physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.

1. Focus on Your Well-Being

To be effective in providing home care to your loved one, you have to be in tiptop physical condition yourself. Thus, you need to ensure that you’re eating healthy foods, sleeping right and exercising regularly. In addition, you need to have your regular medical check-up as well to make sure that caregiving is not taking a toll on your health.

2. Get Connected

Isolation is never the answer when you’re dealing with stress. You need to have social support around you. You can connect with friends and family members or join a support group so you will have people to talk to when you’re feeling stressed and frustrated.

3. Relinquish Control

Accept the fact that you don’t have control over a number of things. This will set you free from the emotional trap of self-pity and finger-pointing. Instead, focus your energy on how you can positively respond to challenges as they come.

4. Spend Time Outdoors

Don’t get cooped up inside your house. Spend time outdoors and breathe some fresh air. It will go a long way toward helping you relax.

5. Have Some “Me” Time

Set aside some time to do the things you really enjoy. You could read a book, start knitting or tinker around the garden. These activities can help you recharge so that you will have the energy to attend to elder care. Caregivers who learn to carve out some leisure time will be more productive in the long run.

6. Learn to be Assertive

Get other family members involved in caring for your aging parent. Don’t assume that they already know what’s on your mind. Communicate with them about the situation and what’s bothering you about it, and then discuss how you might resolve the issues at hand.

7. Take Care of Your Spiritual Needs

Set aside a couple of minutes every day to meditate and do some deep breathing exercises to quiet your mind. If you’re a religious person, you can ask a minister or your church friends to pray for you or call you regularly.

8. Treat Yourself

You deserve some special treatment. Once in a while, you have to pamper yourself and get a manicure, go shopping or have a massage.

9. Laugh Your Way to Wellness

Senior care is serious business – but that doesn’t mean you can’t use some humor while you’re at it. Laughter soothes tension, activates your body’s natural stress response and releases endorphins – the brain’s feel-good chemicals. So once you’re feeling some tension, watch comedy shows or read a funny book.

10. Ask for Help

Learn to accept the fact that you can only do so much. Accept help when it’s offered; and sometimes, you have to proactively seek some help when it’s necessary. In fact, you may have to look to assisted living facilities for their short-term respite care services during those times when you have to take a break or you have to attend to something important.

Caring for your parents in their old age is one of the noblest things you can do for them. Thus, you need to make sure that you’re keeping your caregiver stress level in check. You’ll maintain more stamina to provide them the care that they need.